Sunday, December 20, 2009


Well, we made it! Back to Oklahoma and man is it warm here. I was outside today in my capris and a t-shirt with no shoes and it felt nice. My kids were able to run freely without being bundled up like little snowmen. We did the trip differently this year and left the night before, drove for a few hours, stopped to sleep and the trip the next day was much, much more managable. I hate that 14 hour drive. Too long. It was nice that we broke it up a little. And now we have been warmly welcomed at Grandma and Grandpa's house where I can ignore my children more than usual because Grandma is here. I love it! Oh, and I am in a much better mood than I was the last time I posted. Sorry bout that. I guess I was just having one of those days. I am especially happy because my Cowboys beat the New Orleans Saints last night. It was a nail-biter there at the end, but they pulled it off. We needed it. Whew! You should have seen my happy dance! It was a doozy.

There was little to no excitement for the trip down for which I am extremely thankful. The only time I got a little flustered was when my children had to pee at some dinky, filthy, convenience store bathroom. There was no changing table of course so I was trying to change Sam standing up and the diaper broke. Audrey was already on the potty and Katie was unbuttoning her pants, so I ran out to the car to grab another diaper quick. When I got back, Sam was standing in the corner with his pants around his ankles peeing into the middle of the floor. Geez! Then Audrey freaked out about how gross this was and how she didn't want to accidentally step in it on the way to wash her hands. She had a little meltdown which created a tiny furor amongst all of us lukcy enough to be trapped together. By the time Vince knocked on the door to make sure we were okay, I was ready to bite someone's head off. Namely, his. It was his fault after all, right? We finally made it out of the bathroom and back on the road without further incident.

When we arrived, Grandma brought out an early gift for Sam. One of those little push-around popper toys. You know the ones. They should have been outlawed many years ago, but for some reason continue to exist, much to the delight of grandparents who love to exact revenge on their children. I'm going to be sure to take that to my Dad's house, who used to go crazy over those stupid toys when I was a kid because of all the racket my brothers and I made with ours. This is the same man who used to get together with his cousins and friends and a few beers and bet on which animal the see-n-say would stop on. "The cow says, Moooooooooo." Which sounds like a pretty good idea now that I have kids and our beer pong table has long since been put away. Shoot, any kind of activity that involves adult beverages sounds like a winner to me. I think there's some rum upstairs and some diet coke too. Anyone in?

Have a Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year too. We'll get together later to melt down all those popper toys when I get back home.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Poor Crock Pot

I killed my Crock-Pot today. I'm such a bird-brain sometimes. Got the roast all set to go, plugged it in, turned it on, and walked away. About an hour later I went to warm something in the microwave and noticed that something had flipped the breaker. That happens a lot with the microwave. If I try to use it at the same time as something else, it pops the breaker. The problem was that I hadn't used the microwave so something else had popped it. I looked at the Crock-Pot and it was off so I investigated and found that I had apparently gotten the cord stuck between the crock and the outside wall and it melted through the cord. Ruined my nice, big Crock-Pot, dangit. I loved that thing. I finished the roast in the oven. It turned out pretty good, if a little dry.

We are getting ready for our annual trip to Oklahoma and Texas for the holidays. I'm ready, but I'm not. It just takes so much out of us to travel that far. I'm really not looking forward to the drive. Sam gets really upset because he's a little monkey and hates to be strapped down. He just screams sometimes and there's nothing I can do but listen. The girls do a little better, especially now that they each have their own DVD player. Not to mention the amount of money that it takes to get us there and back. We are a little strapped right now. We just had so much happen all at once that it really took any extra that we had. At least we had that extra I guess. We'd be that much more behind if we hadn't. But I promised my mom. She's hosting for all of her siblings and their kids. There will be lots of people there. Some that I haven't seen in a while. We are trying to buy a camper before we get down there so that we don't have to stay in a hotel. I did just say we were broke, didn't I? The camper we are looking at is a small, 15 year old toy hauler. The amount that we pay for a hotel will just about pay for a third of the camper. And we do like to camp, so we would use it quite a bit. Anyway, we'll see if we end up getting it.

Not much else going on lately. Just getting ready for Christmas. I was done buying gifts early, so I feel ahead of the game a little bit. The problem with that is, I see stuff that I know the kids would like and want to get it, but have to keep reminding myself that I am done and they don't need anything else. I want to buy things because they are on sale and because there are so many kids that don't have anything and I want to get them things too. I can't afford to keep buying things just to give them away, but I can't help it sometimes.

Katie told Vince the other day that her left hand was allergic. As in, her right hand was hurting, but she couldn't finish because her left hand is allergic. Oookay. She has said many more hilarious things, but I can't remember them of course. She's so dramatic. Sheesh! I can hardly stand another complete and total temper tantrum over nothing. Ridiculous. She's having another as I type. Over clothing. She was dressed, now she's not for some unknown (even to her, apparently) reason and I asked her to get dressed again because she has AWANA tonight. Insert meltdown here--"But I'm TI-EHRD." Yeah, me too kid. Me too. I'm really not in the mood. I'm really close to just putting them to bed right now and skipping AWANA and taking out these STUPID, BARKING, PEEING ON MY JUST-CLEANED-CARPET $#^@^$% BEAGLES with my bare hands!!! Can you tell I'm not in a good mood? Maybe I should stop for now. I think there's some ice cream in the freezer calling my name. Actually, AWANA sounds pretty good right now. 2 hours without 2 of my kids. Yeah, I'm all about that at this point. I wonder if they take beagles?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sam's video

I wanted my MIL to see this. Sam is talking more and more and I got him to say Grandma the other day. He's so stinkin' cute. When he's not poopy. Then, he's just stinkin'.

So, there you have it. Proof that he speaks!

In other news, I have switched him over to his big boy bed this week. Not because I really needed to, but because his room is the smallest in the house and had so much furniture crammed in there it was making me crazy(er). So, we put him in the futon and took down the crib. There's a lot more room in there now. He does pretty well. The first time he slept there was at nap time and he just got up, checked the door and when he realized that he couldn't get out, he climbed back in and went to sleep. That night, he did great and in the morning, my little alarm clock was up at 6 sharp wandering around the house. He came in our room and pointed to the kitchen and started saying "pupper". Which means he wanted to eat. Of course. So, the only downfall so far is that I can't lay in bed until 6:15 knowing that he is awake but safe in his crib. Last night he did fall out, but we had a pillow on the edge of the bed just in case and when he fell the pillow fell first and he landed on it. I happened to be up with Katie (more on that later) and heard the thump. I never heard a peep out of him, so I went to see what happened. He was asleep on the floor on top of the pillow. It's a futon, so it's pretty low to the floor. I just put him back in and he never stirred again. Until 6.

Katie. Oh, Katie. She's gonna be 4 in a couple months and I was wondering if it was time to try to get her out of her night-time diaper. So, we bought some pull-ups and made the required big deal about her big girl bedtime panties. She was really excited. I told her that I was going to wake her up later and take her to the potty. She said okay. Until that time came. She screamed and screamed and never went potty. The next morning, her pull-up was soaked through and then some. Last night, I tried again. This time she didn't scream as much, but she still wasn't happy. She sat there for about 30 minutes telling me she couldn't go because her "butt wasn't used to it". I tried everything. Running water, soothing relaxation, threats, bribes, you name it. Finally, I gave up and took her back to bed and put a regular diaper on her. She WAS NOT happy about getting a "baby diaper". She wailed and wailed. She would not calm down. At about 3 am, she was still crying and woke Audrey up. She was telling Audrey all about the injustices done upon her and Audrey finally got her to calm down. Then they talked for another hour. I finally got them settled back down. Then around 4:30, Audrey came in saying she couldn't go back to sleep. Sheesh! I got her back to sleep around 5. I went back to bed finally and then Sam, regular as a clock, woke us up at 6. It's gonna be a loooong day! Audrey was not in the best mood this morning as you can imagine. Katie got to sleep in and apparently is holding no grudges this morning. Now the question is--do I try again tonight? Or do I let her wear diapers to bed until she's 16?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New name?

Since my days are mostly consumed by my children, my blog reflects this. What happens when my days are spent covered in poo? I have written several times about Sam and his incredible exploding diapers. Lately it has gotten worse again. For a while things were slowing down and he was only sharing about 5 or 6 poopy diapers a day with me. But Lord! In the last few weeks, he is back to exploding and providing me with at least 10 crazily soiled diapers a day! I can't even take it. Last night, in the restaurant where we were trying to have a relaxed family meal, he literally runneth over into the high chair within a nanosecond of my meal being served. I covered him with a cloth napkin-I'm quite sure they won't want it back-and sprinted out the door. I only had an extra sweatshirt in the car, no pants, so after getting him cleaned up I took him back in half naked and tried to finish my meal. By then of course the kids were all done eating and getting extremely restless and my food was mostly cold, but oh, well. I swear, this kid's bowels are from Hell. So, in honor of my son and his nasty habits I'm thinking of re-naming this blog. Here are some that I have considered: The Diarrhea Diaries--too much alliteration I think.; The Poo Manifesto; The Butt Blogs--sounds like a porn flick; Memoirs of a Poo-filled Life...I could go on, but I think you get the point. On second thought, maybe I should just leave it as the Straight-jacket Express. That seems to cover the way my life is as a whole.

Oh, and I have to add a disclaimer about my last post. My husband would like to add that his list was also only partially represented and that sometimes I fall down on the job and have no clue where he last laid his keys or wallet, but on the whole he doesn't disagree with my assessment. There you go, honey. I let the world know how you feel.

Here are a couple of funnies from Katie: I put this one on my FB page, so you may have already seen it, but it's funny enough to repeat. At least I think so. One night she handed Vince a mirror and when he looked in it he said, "That's a good-looking fella." She goes, "No, Daddy, that's you!"

A few days later, she walked with me to take Audrey to school. On the way home, she says to me, "It smells like PaPa (my Dad) out here." I said, "What does Papa smell like?" She said, so serious, "beef." Oh, boy! I bet they heard me laughing for miles. When I got home I told Vince what she said and he told me that was especially funny because the night before she had been laying on his chest and told him he smelled like PaPa. He asked what PaPa smells like and she said "barbeque"!! I told my dad he needed to lay off the meat diet for a while! He said he was gonna call Stetson with an idea for a new cologne. Oh, the things that come out of her mouth. She keeps us all in stitches. And for the record, my dad smells like sawdust. I love that smell. I think I'll put piles of sawdust in Sam's room. I think you all know why.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Keeping track

This is a partial list of the things that I keep track of on a daily basis:

1. Daily schedules for everyone in my family, including the dogs. Who has doctor/dentist appointments, who has plans/playdates, what hours is Vince working, what time are these events occurring, what's happening at school/dance/church/MOPS/YMCA and do I have to bring anything?

2. The whereabouts of every single object in this house and the surrounding area at any given moment. For example: "Mom, where's the 1/4" long pink high-heeled Barbie shoe that I haven't played with in at least 6 months?"

3. The whereabouts of each child every minute of every day.

4. Family information, such as my children's birth info, my parents and siblings birthdays, his parents and siblings birthdays, the birthdate for our nieces, nephews and special friends, which cousin is getting married and the date/location, who is pregnant and how far along they are, etc.

5. The medical histories of my husband, children, and each of our extended families.

6. Who is on Facebook and what they are doing today.

7. What everyone within a 1,000 mile radius is getting for Christmas from us.

8. What's for dinner tonight, tomorrow and the rest of this week?

9. When is the car due for an oil change, how much money is in the bank and when is the next payday, when is the next sale on hamburger at Safeway, who has the cheapest gas in town, do the kids need new shoes, and so on.

Like I said, this is a partial list.

This is what my husband keeps track of on a daily basis:

1. How often we do (or do not) have sex.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Start at the beginning

Gosh, it's been so long since I've written that I have been putting it off even longer because I didn't know where to start. We have had a lot going on the past couple of weeks. Well, we've had a lot going on for longer than that, but you've already been there with me.

Vince spent some time in Charleston, South Carolina teaching some classes. I am sooo jealous! I love, love, love Charleston. He spent 2 weeks there.

During that time, I was heading out to Milwaukee for my grandpa's funeral and my grandmother's burial. My MIL flew in and I flew out literally within an hour of one another. We passed each other in security. My flight to Minneapolis ended up getting delayed by an hour, which made me miss my connection to Milwaukee. I ran through the MSP airport trying to catch my plane, but still missed it. There was a flight to Madison, WI boarding at that moment, so the airline traded my ticket for that flight. Meanwhile, I was in the midst of an asthma attack in the airport while trying to call my dad to tell him not to wait for me in Milwaukee with the rental car. We were supposed to fly in close to the same time and rent a car together, but we all know what happens to the best laid plans, right? I figured once I got on the plane to Madison, I would order up some hot tea or hot water to settle my breathing, but there was no beverage service since it was such a short flight. Great! I tried to settle in the best I could, but I could not stop coughing and wheezing and the lady next to me was CRAZY! Something about an abscessed jaw and OMG, what pain! And someone from the airline stole her narcotic pain medication and she hoped they died of an overdose of her meds and she REALLY needed a cigarette, etc...Yeah. That's what I sat next to. Then she would doze off and wake up confused and ask me insane questions. "Did we just land?" "Um, nooo. We're still taxiing for takeoff." So, I finally got myself off of that plane and rented a car for $275 for one day and drove the hour to my aunt's house. (All they had was an SUV and I had to pay extra to drop it in Milwaukee instead of bringing it back to Madison.)

By then my breathing was better, but not great. I made it there, got ready for bed and could not sleep because I couldn't breathe! I would doze off and then wake up gasping for air. I haven't had issues with my asthma in years. I thought it had finally gone away. None of my friends here even know about my life-long battle with asthma. I have always had to do breathing treatments, take weekly allergy injections and carry several inhalers with me everywhere I go. But since I got pregnant the first time, these symptoms have all but disappeared. My inhalers all went out of date and into the trash long ago. Even with working out and running I had no problems until now. In the last couple of months, I have noticed more allergies, more wheezing after I run. Especially now that it has gotten cold out. I guess now that my body has fully recovered from pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc. my lungs are returning to normal. Weird, I know. So, now I have an appointment with the allergy/asthma clinic next week. I haven't been working out at all and I can tell! Even walking Audrey to school makes my lungs tight. Anyway...I made it through that night and the wheezing eventually went away completely.

The next day was my grandfather's funeral. It was COLD! And rainy. We made it through that and spent the rest of the evening at my cousin's house talking, laughing, and oh, yeah, drinking beer. My poor aunt had a flat tire on the way home, so my dad and I got up super-early the next day so that we could pick her up and take her to my grandma's burial and then to run some errands. We spent the day with her running those errands and going through old pictures and eating the goodies we picked up at the Italian deli. I flew out the next day. Of course, the cold followed me to WI and it was nice and warm here while I was gone. Then, when I got back, it got cold here again! At least my trip back was uneventful. My MIL took great care of the kids while we were gone and the kids had a spectacular time with her. I think they wore her out! I'm sure they wore her out. She left on Sunday. The kids were sad.

Then, we had to deal with Ranger. He was not doing well last week. A couple mornings he would come in and wake me up early and just sit and stare at me. I thought maybe he needed to go out, but he would just sit there. I would love on him and put him in my bed until he fell back asleep. The lump was so much bigger and he was struggling to breathe. He quit eating. Then he started getting messy. I would come home and have to clean up bloody, stinky messes from my carpet. I called Vince and told him I didn't think Ranger was going to last until he got home from SC. I tried, but I couldn't take it any more. I called the vet and made the appointment for Thursday afternoon. I told the girls that he was really sick and I was going to take him to the doctor, but Ranger might not come home because the doctor might not be able to make him better. They were extremely upset. All of us were bawling. I took him in and stayed with him until the end. It was quick and he was ready. He didn't struggle at all. They put down a towel and he laid right down and put his head in my hands. The vet noticed immediately how much bigger the tumor was and said that if he was having bloody stools and vomit and not eating, there was probably some internal stuff going on and we were doing the right thing before he was in too much pain. When I got home I explained to the girls that he was too sick and died. We were one big, teary, snotty mess that night. Katie kept saying she wanted to call the "bet" and tell them to fix Ranger and bring him home. She still wakes up crying and saying that she wants Ranger to come home. It's been strange here without him.

Vince got home on Saturday, thank you God! I was just about to crack completely. This has all been too much for me without him here for the better part of the past 2 months. Usually I do okay, but this has been harder than usual. Plus, I came down with a nasty cold on Friday. Of course. I was glad he got home so that I could rest. That's really selfish, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was about to crack. Now maybe things can get back to normal. So far, this week has been pretty quiet, except for this morning on the walk to school when Audrey threw a fit because I told her she couldn't ride on the stroller. I'm pretty sure that anyone who was asleep along the route was rudely awakened by her fit-throwing. She was literally screaming and wailing the entire way! Just your normal Tuesday. Let's hope for a more peaceful walk home.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I said I was going to post these a couple weeks ago and I forgot. So, here they are. The girls singing!!

Crash, boom, bang!

Poor Sam. I'm really going to have to get him a crash helmet. We filled in the other day at the YMCA for a friend and about an hour into our shift, Sam tripped on a bean bag in the reading corner and fell into a door with a metal edge. I thought he just hit the glass with his head. Everything stopped because it was so loud, and people came out of their offices to see who hit what. At first he didn't cry, but then he rolled over and kinda sat up and I could see the goose-egg from across the room. Then it started bleeding. It didn't bleed a whole lot, considering it's a head wound, but it was still pretty nasty looking. We hit him with an alcohol swab, an ice-pack and some steri-strips. I thought he was doing okay and he seemed fine after a bit, but I wanted to take him to the doctor anyway just to make sure. Our doctor was at lunch, so we waited for the Urgent Care Clinic. While we were waiting, Sam ran into the wooden arm of a chair in the same place and made it bleed again. The doctor told us that he didn't want to try stitches because he said it would be very difficult to hold Sam still for the procedure, so they wanted to Dermabond it. Fine. On the way to the procedure room, Sam was walking down the hall and ran into a metal door frame with the other side of his head. By the time we got there, it was swelled up pretty good too. The nurse thought he was hilarious. They held him down and glued his cut closed and let us go. The doctor said he would have a scar. Vince didn't mind. Chicks dig scars he says. He seems fine. A lady in the waiting room kept saying that she had a headache just from looking at his bumped head and he was running around like it was nothing. I'll include some pictures on here.
When we got home from the Dr.'s office, this is what I came home to. I had made up treat bags for Audrey to take to school for her birthday. Almost 30 bags of candy chewed up and ruined. I know that it's hard to tell from this picture because my kitchen table looks a lot like this most of the time, but on this particular day, it was kinda cleared off and one of the dogs had to have stood on the table to get at the treat bags. And they chewed up Katie's sheepskin into little bits. She still has one big section left, but it's her sleeping buddy and it's pretty much ruined. And there were 4 puddles of pee. We have been leaving them locked in the kitchen when we leave or at night because it's been cold. Here lately, someone has started peeing in there. Makes me so mad. Also, Buddy likes to steal food and I don't like that at all. He usually gets a short beating and then thrown outside. He has been known to steal food out of the kids' hands as they are eating it. You would think after numerous beatings (I am exaggerating here, people) that he would get a clue, but this is Buddy we're talking about and he's a few cards short of a full deck. So, when I came home and saw this mess I immediately banned them from the house except for when it's REALLY cold or at night. Apart from Ranger, that is. He's so sick. Most of the time he acts okay and we can't really tell, because he was already our mellow, lazy dog who laid around all day anyway. But he has been sneezing blood more lately and he is really sucking wind now. I would imagine that it's hard for him to breathe around this lump in his nose. I'm sure it's blocking most of the right nostril. We have told the girls that he's sick and might not live, but don't have the heart to tell them that we are going to take him to the doctor to kill him. Vince remembers when he was little and had to have his tonsils out. They told him that they were going to have to put him to sleep for the surgery. Apparently, he was a little frantic because they had just had a family pet "put to sleep" and he knew what happened there! I don't want to traumatize my kids. They know that Ranger is really sick and that he might not live so they give him extra lovings. Which he gladly takes now and again. We have been letting him sleep on the couch during the day and have been giving him extra kibble in his bowl, even though he's our fatty. We figure-what's the harm at this point? Next week Vince's mom comes to help with the kids and I don't want to leave her with a very sick dog to worry about too. So, do we go ahead and put him down? Or do we wait and see if he is still feeling fine beyond his estimated time? I hate to risk it and then leave her to deal with taking him to the vet if he gets bad while we're gone. Decisions, decisions.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ready to come home

I do like Rapid City. It's a nice town, big enough but not too big and it's in a great area with lots to do and see. However, I have an extreme dislike of this weather. It's snowing already. So, I got 2 months this year without having the heater on. July and August. That's it. It's so freaking cold outside right now and nasty, wet snow is falling. I would say that it's okay because I have my new huge HD TV to distract me. BUT! But the snow is so wet and heavy that it is sticking to our dish and I have no signal. And let's talk about that stupid dish.

When we moved here we switched from Dish Network, which we'd had for years and been happy with, to DirecTV. Big mistake. We switched on a whim because when I tried to call Dish Network I apparently dialed a wrong number and ended up on the phone listening to a spiel from DirecTV. It sounded really good, especially the whole NFL Sunday Ticket idea. The guy told me we could move our dish for free from the temporary house where we were living to our new house (whenever we found one), the installation was totally free, that we would be able to get local channels, and some other crap that turned out not to be true. When we did finally get a house and try to move it over, they charged us about $50 and they charged us for other stuff that the dude signing me up told me was FREE! I should have known at the time that it sounded too good to be true. I bitched to a supervisor and was given some money off after I gave her the name and direct number of the moron that signed us up. Gee, thanks. Then, when the man came to hook up the new receiver in our new house, everything went well until I got my bill. They charged me for a DVR when I had ordered a plain Jane regular ol' receiver. I called and got the run around. They told me that I had e-mailed them and upgraded my order. I didn't even have internet access and my computer was still in storage at the time! No, I said, I did nothing of the sort. Well, let us research this and call you back. You do that. Oh, we're sorry for the miscommunication. Apparently what happened was the hookup dude only had a DVR with him and instead of going to get the other one or asking me what I preferred, he just upgraded my order for me and made it look like it was my request! I promptly told them that I WAS NOT paying the extra and that they could stick their DVR where the sun don't shine if they didn't like it. They decided to just charge me for a regular receiver. Then we find out that we don't get the local channels at all because of some kind of non-contract business. Whatever. Why did the guy tell me I would? So, we pay $50 extra per month 6 months out of the year for NFL Sunday Ticket so that we can watch our favorite teams play. What happens in January at Super Bowl time you ask? Nothing happens. We can't get the Super Bowl because one of the major networks has the rights to it, which would be a local channel. We have to go somewhere else to watch it! Isn't that peachy? Now, this will really kill ya. I bought this big-ass TV and wanted DirecTV HD so that the picture would be awesome. $200 for the new HD receiver that I don't own. It's a lease. But, the channels that are HD are incredibly clear. You can see everything and I mean everything! However, last night Vince was recording his NFL Sunday Ticket games. His team is the Redskins if you didn't know. We always let the game play for a little bit before we start watching so that we can FF through the commercials. That DVR has spoiled us beyond belief. We go to watch it and the screen is black except for a little box at the bottom that says that channel is not purchased. I call DirecTV and ask them what's up. Oh, well, in order to get our NFL Sunday Ticket games in HD, it's gonna cost us more because we will have to upgrade to the NFL Sunday Ticket SuperFan package. Are you kidding me? So, the $300 that we already pay for the games, plus the $200 HD receiver, plus the $10 a month HD service, plus the $50 a month for our regular programming isn't enough to watch football in HD?!? That was it. Vince lost it. He demanded to talk to a supervisor, but after waiting on hold for a few minutes, he hung up. As soon as our contract is up, we are dropping DirecTV so fast their heads are gonna spin. V ended up missing half of his game because he wasn't recording it on the plain Sunday Ticket channel too. Do not, I repeat, do not ever switch to DirecTV. They will scam you until your head explodes and even then I bet they have a charge for that.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Beautiful You

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this new song by Jonny Diaz. I can't get enough of it. It's such a great message to all women. I added it to my player at the bottom of the page and also here's the link to the video and the lyrics:

More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz






Saturday, October 3, 2009

Update on Ranger

Well, the hits just keep coming. I told you all that I was taking Ranger back to the vet for a checkup to make sure that his abscess was doing better. I noticed that the lump was still there and was actually bigger. The vet agreed and came back with some bad news. This is no abscess. Apparently it caused the abscess, but there is another issue. Cancer. She told me as much as soon as she saw that the lump was growing. There are usually 2 causes for a lump like that, an abscess and a tumor. She was pretty sure even before I paid another $300 for a biopsy and all that on top of the $500 I gave them for the dental work. After the biopsy, she is 99% sure that it is cancer and unfortunately it is an aggressive form and has already gotten into the bone. She said that we could take him to Colorado State University Vet school and try to have it removed, but the chances that he will recover are extremely slim. He's an old dog and the tumor has more than doubled in size in 10 days, so it would be very difficult for them to remove it all and not have it come back. She gave him 2 weeks to live at the current growth rate. She also said that it will be very painful for him and messy for us. He's going to start sneezing blood again and eventually it just won't stop and he will bleed out. Nice. The right thing to do is have him put down at the first signs of discomfort. We still haven't told the kids. Vince thinks that it would be best to take him in and tell them that he is sick and then when he doesn't come home, tell them that he was really sick and died. I don't know if that's the right way. I think Audrey especially will not do well with not having said goodbye. She's very sensitive about it. I flushed one of our fish one time and she was upset for days, asking questions about why he died and why didn't I let her say goodbye first. A fish! So, I can imagine that this dog, who greeted her when she was brought home from the hospital, will cause much more upset. Especially if we don't let her have her moment. I bawled at the vet's office when I went to pick him up after his biopsy. I know I complain about my dogs and sometimes wish that I didn't have to hassle with them anymore, but I surely did not want this to happen and it will be really hard to let him go. We brought him home when he was just a tiny thing and he's been a part of our family since before we had kids. 9 years he's been with us. I'm sure there will be many more tears. I hate that this is happening. And he's usually our quietest one. Leaves me with the 2 crazy dogs. Fabulous! I'm sure they will wonder what happened too. Scout and Ranger have grown up together. Scout was about 2 years old, maybe not even that old when we brought Ranger home so that he could have a brother. I hope that Scout will let Buddy fill the hole that Ranger will leave. Right now Buddy is kinda the outsider. Maybe this will bring them closer together. I'm glad that we will still have those 2 to help us get through this. Bye, sweet fat dog. We will miss you so much. Have fun chasing rabbits and squirrels in Heaven.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Best made plans

Well, I had plans to clean my very messy house today, but it never happened. Here I am on this infernal machine again. Why is it that less than 12 hours after my hubby comes home from a trip, my house is 50% messier than it was? How is that possible? He's just one person. One big, messy person with a LOT of crap! This man has more equipment, or "gear" as he calls it, than anyone I have ever met. Really. It permeates every room of the house and trickles out into the garage. His truck is full of it. Sam's room is full of it. My tiny little bathroom in the back of the house is currently packed, our bedroom holds little treasures as well. When the computer guy was here trying to get us set up I was looking in this plastic bin where I keep all of our disks and setup stuff and there were bullets in there. Sheesh! He's just pulling into the driveway so I better stop talking about him.

Ranger has to go back to the vet tomorrow. They wanted to make sure that the swelling was going down, so I made a follow-up appointment. It's a good thing because the swelling is worse instead of better. He's through with his antibiotics and all that, but his nose is still looking pretty bad. I'll let you know what they say and how much it's gonna set me back.

Sam just tried to do a little celebration dance. It was basically a circle, but he couldn't complete the entire thing because he lost control and spun out. Too cute! He LOVES his Dada. He was so excited when Vince came home from California. He just starting screaming, "Dada, Dada!" And if you've ever heard Sam scream, you know how crazy the homecoming was. I never thought it was possible for one little boy to be louder than his 2 sisters combined. Anything's possible I realize now. His latest cute trick is "nigh-nigh". He grabs a stuffed whatever or his favorite blanket that Aunt Bonni made for him and cuddles with it and says "nigh-nigh, nigh-nigh". Or when you put him in the bed he starts up with it. And he says love you. "Ah-voo". His favorite word is still no. Typical.

I will be making another trip to Wisconsin soon. My Grandfather's funeral is set for Oct. 15th and they are having a burial for my Grandmother's ashes on the 16th. So, I will fly out there by myself for a couple of days while my mother-in-love flies in to watch the kids since V will be out of town--AGAIN! Busy, busy.

They are predicting snow for later this week. Snow! October 1st. Snow! Oh, I miss the south. We still have summer clothes out. Not that we've gotten to wear them much. It's been so cool here all "summer". I've already scraped ice off the windshield once a couple weeks ago. It's nuts. I'm beefing up the Halloween costumes so the kids can wear their snowsuits under. The heater has been on for a couple of weeks now. Let's see. The heater was on until June and then comes back on in September. Is that insane, or is it just me? No wonder there's a bar on every corner up north.

Well, Vince and I are supposed to have a date tonight, so I guess I should get off of here and get dinner for the kids, get myself ready and the kids dressed. I have 30 minutes. Think I can do it? You betcha!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Need to lighten things up a bit

Today I feel the need to laugh. So, I thought I would share some funny things that the kids have said or done lately.

Vince and I have been thinking about what to get the kids for Christmas, particularly the girls since their room is already stuffed full of toys. I have been wanting to get a trampoline for a while, but we move so much that it's just not practical right now. So, I was thinking about a bounce house (that could come in or go out and folds up nicely) or a playhouse. I asked the girls which one they would rather have and of course they said both. I explained that we didn't have the money to get both, so they would have to choose. Audrey shrugged at me and said, "Just go to Wal-Mart so we can get both. Save money, live better." Who says advertising doesn't work?

Then a few days later Katie was telling Audrey to do something and Audrey goes, "I'll take that under advisement Katie."

Poor Katie has been having to wake up earlier than normal so that we can take Audrey to school. This kid requires more sleep than my other two so I always try to let her sleep the longest. One morning, she was getting up but I could tell that she was still half asleep. She looked at me all sleepy-eyed and serious and said, "Mom, why can't tonight be tomorrow?" HUH? She kept looking at me like she was expecting an answer, so I said, "Um, well, because that's they way God wanted it." That's my one-size-fits-all answer to really tough questions. Works like a charm.

This morning was a pretty rough morning for all of us. I know what my problem was, but the kids all went to bed early last night so I'm not sure what the deal was with them. After we dropped a VERY upset Audrey at school today, Katie came home and curled up in a clothes basket with a pillow and blanket and fell asleep. It was cute. Here's the picture.Well, I know part of Audrey's problem was that Sam puked on her right before we left for school. I would be upset too. The other issue had something to do with a stuffed animal that she wanted in the car with her. I don't know. I refuse to acknowledge those ridiculous tantrums.

On Saturday night Audrey went to stay with a friend and Katie was upset that she didn't get to go too, so I declared it Katie night. I told her we would go grab something to eat and go to the park. She chose Chuck E. Cheese. Dang it. Since we hadn't been there in a while and I did tell her to pick whatever she wanted, I dragged my skanky, t-shirt and Croc wearing, crazy-haired self and 2 white-trash looking kids out to CEC. It's nice that I can take a book and keep only one eye on the kids because I know they can't escape, but really? Why is that place fun? It is the only restaurant I know that can mess up a hot dog. Are hot dogs that hard? Why are they always burnt on the outside and cold on the inside and served on a stale bun? I realize that I'm ONLY paying $5 for this crappy hot dog, but c'mon. Katie had a good time and that's all that matters I guess. Sam even had fun crawling around and ignoring his $5 crappy hot dog. You know it's bad when Sam won't eat it! And, of course we ran into people we know. I never run into someone I know unless I'm not wearing make-up and I have 3 giant zits that are ready to be popped and my hair is so frizzy that no amount of hair spray is going to rein it in. And I have on my Crocs that I usually only wear in the yard or in the car. And a ginormous t-shirt with stains on it. My bad luck is going to become legendary if this keeps up! Audrey was mad when she found out that Katie got to go without her and insists that I take her as well. Sorry, sister! I've had all the Chuck E. Cheese I can stand for a while. But ain't she cute?

Ranger is doing better I think. He better be because I'm pretty sure I spent more money on him at the vet in this one trip than I have ever spent on the other dogs in their entire lives. Turns out he had an abcessed tooth that had spread into his sinuses. Did I spell abcess wrong? Who cares. Anyhow, they had to do dental surgery and pull 4 teeth and do some other dental stuff and keep him overnight. It actually cost less than they quoted me to begin with, but when they get into the hundreds of dollars, does a $30 savings really matter? I can tell you for a fact that it does not. Stupid dogs. I almost asked how much it would cost to put him down instead, but I didn't think the people that work in a veterinarian's office would appreciate my attempts at humor. I'm so over dog ownership at this point. I have had dogs all my life and have never brushed their teeth nor have any of them ever, ever had to have dental work done. Aaaaaarrrrgggghhhhh! Give me a moment to cool down and breathe...(insert elevator music here).

Sorry. I get a little worked up. Time for a shout out. This is for my girl Heidi who definitely knows the way to my heart! She knows all about my run of bad luck because she has had to listen to my rantings ad nauseam and has, I'm sure, suffered through the same stories over and over and over again. She left donuts on my doorstep this morning. Bless you, Heidi. I am happy to report that they are all gone already and I have no remorse. Okay, I did share one with the girls. But I ate the rest with abandon--and glee I might add. They were so good! So, thanks. Love ya and thanks for listening.

For the rest of you, I really appreciate all the well-wishes and prayers that have been sent my way. I have a super, awesome, lovely group of friends and family who put up with me on a daily basis (I don't ask why because I'm afraid you guys will stop to think about it and decide I'm too much work) and I just want you to know that even though 99% of the time I am a selfish, flaky, forgetful person, I do love you back and wish I could repay all your kindnesses and then some.


Sunday, September 20, 2009


That's the only title I could come up with tonight. I have nothing to start with except "Oh, my goodness!!" Seriously. My aunt called today to tell me that my grandfather died last night. It's not that it wasn't expected because he has been deteriorating pretty rapidly, but it's still not easy. It just hit me this afternoon that I have no grandparents left. My maternal grandparents died when I was in high school and college. My mom and dad left for Aruba this morning. I guess they finally got a hold of my dad this afternoon. I don't know what they will do. Come home? Stay? I would like to go to the services in Wisconsin, but now that I have a big-ass television and the vet bill from Hell (more on that later), can we afford it? Vince is working 16 hour days with no days off for 3 weeks. Ugh. And Audrey has school. I just don't know. My grandpa was such a wonderful man. He used to make homemade pizza for us when we would come to visit. So yummy! And still when I smell pipe smoke, I think of him, I look around for him. His laugh was infectious. And he gave great hugs. I'm so glad that we took the time to see him at Easter when we visited. Even though the dementia was getting worse, he knew me and was so happy to see me and the kids. The girls were giving him hugs and he just smiled so big. We took some pictures with him and with my Grandma too.

Just look at their smiles! They will live in my heart forever and I know that I will be with them again some day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Just breathe

Hello all! I know I haven't written in a while, but it's been so crazy around here that I have to remind myself to breathe some days. I think I am having a harder time adjusting to this new schedule than Audrey is, although she does have some mornings when she pulls the blanket back over her head and doesn't want to get up. I feel ya, honey! I was getting up to run before coming home and waking her up, but since my treadmill died the first week of school, I have been walking her to school with the little ones in the stroller and then going for a walk/run while she's in school. This half day Kindergarten is a nice way to break them in, but it certainly messes up my day. It's just long enough that it's hard to find something to do for the whole 2 1/2 hours, but short enough that you can't really get much done. I know that sounds weird, but it's really true. So, basically what I do is just walk/run most of the time and then take the little ones to the park or something for 45 minutes or so. It's nice because there are several nice parks and places to run within 10 minutes of our house and Audrey's school. So I don't have to load everyone in the car and take them some place to exercise. School and dance and YMCA and play dates and errands and MOPS and church and doctor's visits and... I feel like I never sit down! Plus, we have to squeeze in meals and naps somewhere. My house is, naturally, a total wreck. Instead of Vince sleeping next to me (he's in California for 3 weeks), I sleep with a pile of laundry. Usually it sits in the chair in the LR, but I moved it because we had company last week. What's that you say? I should fold it and put it away? Ha! That would be quitting.
I am happy to report that dance classes are going very well so far. *knock on wood* Katie's first class she danced halfway through and then quit. I talked to the teacher afterward and she told me to give her at least a month and that she thought Katie would stop being "shy" and start participating more. She was right. This week Katie danced the whole class and not just by herself. I mean she fully participated in the class. This is a different studio that we are enrolled in now. It's better. Nothing against the other one, but this teacher is much better with the little kids. Audrey really enjoyed her class too. I'm glad they are having fun. They also started AWANA on Wed. nights. Audrey was going to a little church up the road on Wednesdays, but they didn't really have an organized program. My friend Michelle takes her kids to AWANA at a church right up the road from us. (She lives around the corner). They love it, so we decided to give it a shot. Our regular church is about 15 minutes out of town and I hate to drive that far. See what city living has done to me? Anyway, the girls are LOVING it! They have books and have memory verses to learn every week and it's just a great program. They earn patches to put on their little vests. It's really cute.
Sam landed himself in the ER on Labor Day. This kid, I tell ya. I told you that he was running a fever. Well, it kept shooting up to 104+under the arm. I could not keep it down. After 2 days of temps that high, I took him to the ER. Of course that was the same day that V left for Cali, so the girls went next door with Jim and Sherri-bless 'em-and Sam I and went to the hospital with every other Joe in town. Gosh, was it busy. By the time they took his temp it was 104.5 so they popped him with Tylenol and Motrin all at once and then took him back for a chest x-ray and blood work because they couldn't see anything outwardly wrong that would be causing those kinds of temps. His lungs looked a little cloudy, so they gave him an antibiotic and there was nothing in his blood work that was off, so they sent us home. His fever broke in the hospital after they gave him the Tylenol and Motrin. The next day, he seemed better but he started developing a rash all over his belly and back. I called the Dr. and they wanted to see him, of course, so they could tell me that it looks a lot like Roseola. Classic. Another virus that they can do nothing about. That'll be $15 please. I asked the Dr. what the deal was with Sam. Why does he keep getting sick? He said it's nothing to be concerned about, just normal childhood illnesses, but that Sam seems to be getting them all at once. Tell me about it! He said they would be worried about his immune system if he was getting sicker with serious problems like pneumonia. But these viruses are really common. He said by the time he's 2, it should slow down. Fabulous. Sam is better. For now. He's a little spitfire. He's talking even more than he was a week ago. At his well baby check this week (that'll be another $15 please), the doctor was surprised by all his words and everything he understands. He said he was a sharp kid. It's nice to hear that from the doctor. He also said we were very loud. Thanks doc! Don't I know it. Here are some pics of him getting into trouble. He is demonstrating how to eat Shepard's Pie without a fork and the proper use of the computer. Yes, that is meat in his nose and yes, he climbs up there all the time by himself to play with the mouse. Perhaps that is why my computer died not too long ago!

Yesterday was our 9th anniversary. I was at the YMCA and was having a pretty crappy morning when I got roses delivered! They are beautiful. I bawled. Thanks, honey! They really turned my day around. I thought I'd post a picture since he hasn't even seen them and won't get home before they die. Today I have to take one of the dogs to the vet. He has been sneezing blood and has a big lump under one eye on the side of his nose. I never could determine where the blood was coming from until I noticed the lump last night. Great! The only reason this is happening is because I went and bought a big-screen TV the other day. It never fails! We think we have a little extra and BOOM! Out the window it goes. Some day I'll learn. Maybe.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You can't get rid of me that easily!

You thought you got rid of me for good, didn't you? Well, too bad! I'm baaaaccck. Our computer went kaput right before we left for my Grandma's funeral. This has been a very expensive couple of weeks. Getting ready for school, fixing up the flower beds, traveling to Wisconsin for the funeral and kenneling the dogs for 5 days, and fixing the computer to name a few things. Good thing we got Vince's overtime check from Sturgis week. It's gone and then some!

First things first. My Grandma died on August 26th. My cyber-granny is gone. I called her that because she got a computer within the last 10 years and really embraced the technology. She e-mailed, bought and sold stuff on E-Bay, and surfed for interesting items. She got a kick out of my nickname for her. Her funeral was the following Monday, so we headed out of town on Saturday morning. The service was nice and afterward we had a big family dinner and then some of us headed out to Grandma's apartment to sort through some stuff. It was weird being in her home without her there. We found some really neat stuff that she had made or was in the process of making. Like this Christening gown. I know my kids will never wear it, but it was too beautiful to send to the Goodwill. Maybe if one of the other cousins has a girl, I can send it to them.

It was a whirlwind trip, very tiring, but a good one because we got to see all the cousins and aunts and uncles. We even spent one evening with some cousins that we rarely see or hear from and had a great time getting to know each other as adults and swapping insults. That's the norm in our family. If we like you, we immediately begin to bring you down to our level and make fun of ya. Took a while for Vince to get used to it and he still tells me to cool it occasionally. We got home late Tuesday night.

We got our computer back on Thursday, but it wasn't fully functional until Friday evening. I have been trying to catch up. Life without a computer stinks! How the heck am I supposed to know what all my Facebook friends have been doing and eating and thinking for the past week?!

Audrey started school on Friday. They had a week where the teacher had small groups of 5 or 6 kids every day instead of the whole class so that they could get to know each other and she could introduce them to the classroom and show them how things would go. This Tuesday, they start with the entire class. Audrey had a blast on Friday. She picked out her outfit and was ready to leave by 7:15. It takes us about 5 minutes to get to the school because it's just a couple of blocks away and she doesn't have to be there until 8 of course. It was cute. And I am happy to report that I DID NOT CRY!! I know, I can't believe it either. I'm guessing that pre-school last year did me some good. Audrey said school was lots of fun and she even got a mouse stamp for being quiet. I think the teacher got mixed up! This is a kid who never shuts up! She's gonna put me in an early grave with, "Mom, watch this. Mom, are you watching? Mom, can I... Mom, play with me. Mom, let's do crafts. Mom, mom, mom!!!"

Of course, the first thing she gravitated to was the farm and the horses. Didn't take her long. I love her little outfit. She picked it out at the store. It's corduroy with poodles on the bottom. It was 80 degrees on Friday. She insists she wasn't hot. Whatever. At least she was cute! She and Katie are starting dance classes next week. I think I might be crazy. They are both totally pumped. I asked Katie a million times if she was sure and told her that she was going to be in trouble if she quits in class. She has assured me that she's going to do it. Then she added, "But what happens if I get really tired and don't want to dance anymore?" Uh, oh. I did tell the lady that she might get shy all of a sudden, but they told me that was fine and that she could drop out with the proper paperwork. Wish us luck. Audrey is taking a ballet/tap class. I think she's really going to like it. She thoroughly enjoyed the dance camp she took this summer and this class will be with the same studio. Katie is taking Creative Movement. I really hope she does okay.

Sam is doing well with the walking. The night that we got home from Wisconsin, he hadn't walked since that morning, so when I put him down in the house, he was funny. He couldn't walk. He just kept falling like he had forgotten how to use his legs. He is talking some too. He says thank you ("ah ooh"), bless you (sounds just like thank you, only he says it when you sneeze), hush up (to the dogs) which sounds like "up", Dada-of course, and Nana. And he likes to give kisses. Big, open-mouth, wet kisses. He is officially the cutest kid who ever lived. No bias whatsoever! He's not feeling well today. He started with a high fever last night. It was 102.4 under the arm, so it's probably more like 103.4. He's been off his food for a couple days and just kinda cranky/tired. Don't know what's up, but I'm sure it will pass in the next couple of days.

Well, it's time for me to get off my duff and mow the lawn. It needs it bad. I will be back again. Soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

No news is good news?

I haven't heard anything today on the condition of my Grandma, so that might be good news, right? At this point, it's just a matter of waiting for the end. Not to be dramatic or whatever, but that's pretty much what it is. Here's a replay. She was found unresponsive a couple weeks ago at home and taken to the hospital. They think she just took too many of her pain pills. After a couple days she was sent to a nursing home for some rehab because she was having trouble walking. Then, she developed a bood clot in her leg and they had to amputate it. So, she was back in the hospital for that. I guess she never really did well after that. Her blood pressure started dropping and she went into kidney failure. She was in ICU with that going on when her lungs started filling with fluid. Her body is just giving up I guess. So a decision was made to send her back to the nursing home and make her as comfortable as possible. I know that she had said she didn't want to be kept alive by machines, so I think she kinda made the choice to just let it end. I talked to her yesterday and she sounded okay. She told me how much she loved me. It was a typical short and sweet conversation that I have been having with her my entire life. I guess she's never really liked to talk on the phone, especially now. Usually, it goes something like this:

Me: Hi, Grandma.

G'Ma (in a typical Wisconsin accent): Hello, Nicooole. How are yooou?

Me: Oh, pretty good. What about you?

G'Ma: Well, my knees are aching a lot lately and I just am in so much pain. Please pray for me. How are the kids?

Me: They're great. Audrey's getting ready to start school and...

G'Ma: Oh, good. Okay, well give them all kisses and hugs for me. Bye, bye now.

Me (speaking very rapidly): Okay,loveyouandhopeyoustartfeeling....

G'Ma: *click*

I'm really not exaggerating. You know how sometimes you dread calling the older members of your family because you aren't sure what to say to them? I never had that problem because she never stays on the phone longer than 3 minutes. I will miss those abrupt calls. I will also miss all the neat things that she makes for my kids. She always sews and knits (or crochets-- I don't know the difference). Some are really cool and some are a little less than fashionable, but can always be made to look fabulous with an explanation of "Grandma made it." The kids usually love them none the less.

These were really sweet dresses she made for them when Katie was a baby. She loved doing stuff like that.

My dad is there with her, which is good. We were planning to go camping this weekend, but decided to postpone so we wouldn't be out of touch. I think we're going to kick around here a little, hit the State Fair for some fun. They have a neat kid's area that the girls still talk about from last year. Audrey remembers every detail. That kid has a memory! Most things are free or very cheap, so it's a nice thing to do with the kids without breaking the bank. They can jump in the bouncy castle, play on the cool playground, dig in the sandbox for quarters and dimes, paint a ceramic figure, get their hair and faces painted, and even make their own ice cream sundaes. Then there are the carnival rides of course. Audrey LOVES rides. She has been riding roller coasters since she was tiny. By herself with her arms in the air. LOVES them. Katie, not so much. We'll see with time which camp Sam aligns himself with. I'm gonna guess he and Audrey will be base jumpers in the future. As much as he likes to climb things and fling himself off of the furniture.

I'm not sure about the future of this computer. I keep getting these stupid warnings about trojans and blah, blah. I already pay for virus protection and have run scans telling me everything is fine. Now, this windows system is telling me that I have critical system warnings! and beware! But if I buy their anti-virus stuff for only $60, they will take care of it. I think it's a scam to get me to buy their software. But they make it truly annoying because about every 20 seconds, a little window pops up in my way warning me about impending doom. Make it stop!! I can't figure out how to make it quit. If I scream really loudly, maybe it will go away.

Went for a nice long run the other night. It felt so good. I just kept running. I stopped for a little bit and walked, then started running again. I went over 4 miles total. Am a little sore after, but it's a good sore and I felt so much better afterward. It really clears my head. It's just me and my strong legs, open lungs, beating heart and my thoughts. Oh, and the mosquitos. They were there too. I can chant (just keep running, running, just keep running...), sing, pray, cry, talk to myself, whatever. I think if everyone went for a run, we could solve the world's problems! I haven't been running as much lately because (enter any excuse here) and I can tell because I have been putting weight back on. It's time to stop making excuses and get back into action! I always feel better after. I can walk, run, whatever. It doesn't matter and no one cares if I go fast or slow or somewhere in between. Like my friend Sheri says, "running is MY thing. No one can take it away from me. It's just for me." Or something like that!

Vince and I are happy campers lately. Football season is upon us! Don't get me started about Brett Favre. My boys are looking good! Patrick Crayton is going to start and is considered their #2 receiver. YAY!! Go Pat, go Pat, it's your birthday! Vince is hoping the Redskins do better than they are predicted to. I am hoping for that too, just because I have to live with him and it's not pretty when the Redskins aren't playing well. Trust me, we all want to pray for Washington to do well this season.

I'm gonna go so that we can make it to the fair sometime this year. Keep praying for my Grandma and I will keep you posted on how things are going.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Video of Sam

We'll see if I can post this here since it is apparently too big a file to e-mail.

I tried to send this earlier to everyone with my newsy update, but I couldn't get it to go. So I took the video off and lo and behold, the mail went. So, I'll post it here and you guys can still see it if you wanna take the time to surf on over to the ol' Straight-Jacket Express.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New portaits

Audrey is our artist in residence here. She is rarely seen without a piece of paper and crayons, markers, pens, etc. She really does some sweet stuff sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in "crafts" and have to throw stuff out when she's not looking. She can't keep track, so she doesn't get mad unless she catches me in the act. But some are too priceless to toss. Like last night when I was in the living room reading the newspaper and she said she wanted to draw a picture of me. I said okay. This is what she came up with:

I like my crazy hair! That's probably what it looked like last night after a full day of chasing kids, working the YMCA nursery and my water aerobics class. Later, Vince told me that she had come to him earlier in the day asking to do a portrait of him. He said that she was all serious about it and told him to keep a big smile on his face. She talked about having to add his beard and the hair around his mouth. When he showed it to me, I cracked up! The resemblance is uncanny I think: Doesn't it look just like him? LOL! I laughed so hard I peed myself. He had her sign and date it and is going to frame it.
The girls also both made cards for our neighbors. Sometimes they like to draw pictures and put them in the neighbor's mailboxes. Last night, we found out that Jim was not feeling well, so they decided to make cards for him. They were cute. Audrey's said "Get well, Jim" and Katie drew one of those people that looks like a big circle with a face and stick arms coming straight out from the sides. And the little stick fingers were holding a flower. So sweet. They really love our neighbors. The feeling might be a little more mutual lately as we have been trying to get our yard cleaned up a bit. Since we've moved in I have felt like our house was bringing the others down because our yard was so ugly compared to the other houses on our block. Every one of them has a gorgeous yard with beautifully landscaped flower beds. Basically all we did was mow our lawn. The flower beds in the front had no flowers, unless you count dandelions. The weeds were about knee high and there were little elm saplings growing amongst them, courtesy of the giant elm growing in our backyard that hangs over our house. That tree is a blessing and a curse. Love the shade, hate the little elm sprouts everywhere. Anyway, I got fed up and told Vince that I was going to kill the weeds, put down weed blocker fabric and put river rock in there. And so I did. It took me a while because it was basically just me and 3 kids "helping" clear out the weeds and white rock in there. It really looks a lot better. I can plant stuff later if I want to, but for now I just wanted the weeds gone. We also did the strip between our driveway and our neighbor's fence where trash and leaves tend to blow and rot. Now, we are focusing on the other side of the door and the side of the house. V cleared out some of the little trees and weeds and pruned the rose bushes that never bloomed. Now, I need to get in there and clear the rest of it out and put down the edging and rock. I can't wait until it's all done. Our house will look sooo much better. Our neighbors will probably do a happy dance! I tell ya, I have a new respect for those that keep beautiful gardens and such. That's hard work. It's been fun and a change of pace from trying to keep up with the inside of the house (impossible), but boy was I pooped!
We are planning to go on a hike later with some friends, so I should try to get Sam down for a nap pretty soon. The girls are coloring in the living room. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bad Mommy

Some of you may know this about me, and some may have even witnessed it first hand. I seem to attract an abnormal amount of unsolicited parenting advice. Really, I do. Well, not as much anymore. Maybe since I have 3 kids now people assume that my bad parenting comes from just having too many kids to take care of or maybe I look crankier and they don't want to take the chance of having their head bit off. Whatever it is, I don't get approached as much as I used to, which is a good thing. Now, I have no problem with someone giving me advice when I ask for it, or from a friend who I know is just trying to help and has my kids' best interests at heart. But strangers?! Come on, people. Some old lady griped at me last night in the women's locker room of the YMCA. Let me set this up for you: I had taken the kids to the drop-in nursery while I went to water aerobics. Then I was going to go get them and take them all to family swim. Usually I get a locker in the family locker room, but since I was alone at first, I just went into the women's because the family locker room is always crowded and there aren't as many showers, etc. Halfway through my class, one of the staff from the nursery came to tell me that I was going to have to take Sam. He hadn't stopped screaming the whole time and they had tried everything. No problem-it happens. So, I got all the kids at that time and just took them into the women's locker room with me to get them changed so they could swim. Sam was still upset and the girls were being themselves (read:onery). I was trying to hurry so we didn't bother anyone. On our way out of the locker room, a naked old lady stopped me and says with a sour look on her face, "Boys are not allowed in this locker room." My first thought was, "Um, he's ONE! I'm not sure that really qualifies." I just told her I was sorry and kept walking. I'm pretty sure I have a couple of holes in my back from the burning glare she gave me as I walked away. She probably should have been more concerned about my 3 year old daughter who started laughing and said, "Mommy, she has big boobs!" I'm quite sure that there will be a comment put in the comment box regarding males in the women's locker room. This doesn't really count as advice, per se, but it still rankles me. The rest of the story is that the family pool was shut down because someone pooped in there and I ended up in the 4 ft deep lap pool with 3 kids clinging to me like monkeys. Bless my friends and their husbands who have a more reasonable number of children and could help me keep mine at the top of the water. Anyway, here are a couple more examples that I can think of:

Audrey was about 11 months old and we were getting ready to move to Georgia. One morning before taking Audrey to day care and going to work, we stopped at McDonald's for breakfast. I had put her in the highchair and was tearing up bits of pancake for her and putting it directly on the tray (after I had wiped it down of course) when an older lady-it's always an older lady-came over and told me that I really should get her a plate because otherwise she's never going to learn to eat off of a plate. Really? Never? If I give her a plate, here's what's gonna happen--with one flick of the little fat wrist, all of her food will be on the floor when she dumps her plate over. I have a hard time believing that by not giving my infant a plate for her food, at 25 years of age, she will still be trying to slurp her food directly off of the table. I'm pretty sure she picked up the whole plate concept shortly thereafter and I don't think that she's any worse for wear.

When Katie was 2 months old and we were preparing to move from Arizona to Arkansas, we decided to take a little camping trip to see the Grand Canyon, Zion, Lake Powell and some other stuff before we left that part of the world. Zion was one of our last stops. One evening, I had taken the girls for a walk while Vince was trying to get supper going. Katie was in the stroller and was starting to get pretty upset because she was hungry. I was trying to make my way back to the campsite as quickly as I could because she was really beginning to howl. An older lady flagged me down and told me that the reason Katie was crying was because her feet were cold and if I would put some socks on her, she would stop crying. Um, thanks lady. It's at least 80 degrees out here and she hasn't had any booby in about 4 hours, so I'm pretty sure socks are the least of her worries right now. Sheesh!

Apparently Katie's temperature was of great concern to the general old lady public because not too long after that when we were in Arkansas another similar incident occurred. It was in the fall and we had gone to Target. It was cool, but not cold and no one had jackets on. Katie was dressed in a long-sleeve onsie under a sweater. We were done and were loading back into the car that was parked all of 3 spaces away from the door of the store when a lady approached us and told me that I needed to put a coat on my baby because she was probably freezing. For your information, lady, she's fine. She has on 2 warm layers and has only been outside for approximately 4 seconds. I don't think she's had time to get "freezing" and if you hadn't stopped me to tell me how to dress my child, she would have only been in the cold air for 2 seconds. Usually I just say thank you and keep doing what I'm doing. For the most part, people know that they are being dismissed, but one time back in Arizona I had a lady that just wouldn't quit. We had some company and took them to this mining museum. We took the mine tour also. They gave us the obligatory mining jackets and hard hats to wear. Audrey was about 18 months old. Of course, the jacket swallowed her. It was pretty cool in the mine. I'd say around 55 or 60 degrees. Audrey did pretty well the whole tour until toward the end. She actually kept that huge coat on even though she was tripping over it and didn't have the use of her hands. But at the end, we came to this huge room and we put Audrey down to run around a bit. The jacket fell off, so I left it off. I had mine off too. And for anyone that knows Audrey, she runs hot just like her mama. We are hardly ever cold. She was having a good time playing in the dirt and looking around when--can you guess what happened next?--an older lady comes up to me and informs me that my daughter is cold and needs to have her coat on. She proceeded to tell me what the temperature was and that it was too cold for my child to be running around with no jacket on, blah, blah, blah. I just fixed a smile on my face and told her that Audrey was fine and thank you for your concern. She walked away, but wasn't done yet. She walked over to her party and started complaining very loudly about my lack of parental concern for my child who was sooo cold without her jacket on. What kind of mother would let her child go without a jacket when it was that cold? Why wasn't anyone doing anything to protect this poor, neglected child? And on and on through the rest of the tour. She could glare with the best of them.

And here's the last one that I'll post. One Christmas Eve at church, we sat down with Audrey, who was just barely 2, in our regular pew for the living nativity and service. There was an old lady sitting in the middle of our pew whom I had never seen before. We always sat at the end of the pew closest to the middle aisle so that we could make a quick escape if necessary. So, that's where we sat that night. The service lasted quite a while and although Audrey wasn't behaving great, she wasn't too bad. She was 2 and was acting like a 2 year old acts during an hour and a half long church service. Vince and I scooted apart and let Audrey play between us. At one point, she escaped past my knees and sat on the other side of me close to the old lady. She was just sitting there. The lady snatched her purse from between her and Audrey and switched it to the other side of her lap. Whatever. Like Audrey was going to steal it or something. Anyway, Audrey came back over between me and Vince and the service finally ended. The couple who sat behind us every Sunday was there and remarked about how well Audrey behaved for as long as it lasted. They were so happy that we had brought her, she was such a joy, etc. I told Vince that I didn't think Miss Snooty agreed and that she was probably going to say something to us before we left. Well, she didn't. We stopped at the grocery store before heading home and guess who we bump into? You guessed it--Miss Snooty. She comes up and says all huffy with her nose in the air, "Well, I wasn't going to say anything, but since I ran into you, I just have to tell you how horrible your child was during the services. I think that if you are going to bring a child to church, you should sit in the back so that you are not distracting everyone else. I have ADD and am hard of hearing and was so distracted by that child that I could not enjoy the service." I don't know what was said after that point because I walked away with Audrey, leaving Vince to handle it. I knew that if I stood there any longer I would have yelled, "If you have ADD and are so hard of hearing, maybe you should sit at the front of the church instead of in the middle. And, just FYI, we sit in that pew every single Sunday and if you came to church any day besides Christmas, you might have known that and would have sat somewhere else. AND, we had several people come up to us after the service and tell us how well she did during such a long service. Don't you remember what it was like to have little kids?" But I didn't think that would be appropriate. Dang.

My point is that as a mom, I already am worried about my pitiful lack of proper parenting skills. I really don't need old ladies to point out how horrible I am. I have good days and bad days just like anyone else and when I'm having a good day, no one comes up and says to me, "Wow, I think you handled that very well! What a good mom you are." Usually it's when I'm already frazzled and at the end of my patience and am just trying to make it through the day alive and without losing any children that someone will point out yet another mistake to add to that already extensive list of mishandled moments. I get it, okay? I'm doing the best I can and I feel pretty good about myself that I have kept my kids alive this long. Remember the old adage, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"? Do that.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rally time

Sturgis is jumping, folks! I haven't seen the crowds yet, but I can hear them as they roar past my house all day and night non-stop. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. Sam is trying to sleep, but the bikes keep waking him up. It doesn't help that our house is on the corner of a busy intersection where the bikes sit at the light and rev, rev, rev their engines. It's really annoying. I'm beginning to hate the rally. We don't have A/C (not that we need it this year, as it topped out at about 65 degrees today) and so our windows are always open. Some of those pipes are incredibly loud. You literally can't hear yourself speak when you are trying to have a conversation. Not that I have anyone to talk to since my husband has been made the Incident Commander for the big operation they do during the rally. I bet you guys will see him as much as I will in the next 2 weeks. But this is a BIG deal for him. It's a huge operation. And you know how much my husband likes to be in charge!

We had vacation bible school this week. I was put in charge of the nursery for the volunteers who worked VBS. I signed up to be a measly volunteer, but somehow ended up on the short list to be the crew leader over the kids ages 0-2-ish. You know how much I hate to be in charge! Really. I don't like to be forced to make decisions or have to be responsible for anyone or anything other than myself and my belongings. I'm lazy. I just like to float along and let other people make the important decisions. I don't want to have to think too hard. I'm sooo tired! Audrey had a great time at VBS though and next year Katie will get to go too. This year she stayed with me in the nursery. I probably shouldn't say this out loud, but kids REALLY get on my nerves! Maybe the nursery isn't the right place for me! Oh, it's okay, but I definitely could not work at a day care center and do that every single day. I don't have that kind of patience or emotional stability. See, I don't tolerate whining or crying or fit-throwing very well. When my kids do it, they do it from their bedrooms. You can't really do that with other people's kids. And I'm soooo not a snuggler. I hug my kids, but after a few minutes I'm pretty much done. Geez, I sound like lots of fun, huh? My kids are gonna need therapy as adults!

Before I start scaring people out of my life, I think I'll change subjects! We tried to re-do our camping trip last weekend. We packed the car Friday morning, loaded up and headed out to our campsite in the middle of the Black Hills National Forest about an hour and a half from home and any kind of cell service. This is a place that Vince and his co-worker TJ found. It's not an actual campground. It was beautiful! Just off the road into this nice flat spot in a valley with a cold, clear mountain stream running through it and surrounded by fields of wildflowers and cliff-faces, we met TJ and his wife Becca. We unloaded kids and dogs and started setting up camp. Vince worked on getting up the tent (I use that term lightly regarding this "thing" that he calls a tent) and I worked on getting everyone lunch. Five PB&J sandwiches and one fall out of the car later, I look over to see my hubby staking down this strange looking tarp-ish structure that I will call the circus tent. That's what it looks like because basically it's a tarp with a pole in the middle and then you stake down all around the edges. It's even stripey like a circus tent. There's no floor to this thing and you can't stand up in it. What?!! I thought he was bringing our nice, big, 2 room tent that you can actually get away from the bugs in. I don't know what I was thinking (strong use of sarcasm here)? Anyway, after he got all the cots and stuff stowed in there and his hammock strung up, we gathered around the fire pit to chat. Except, that's when I started to feel queasy. Not just about the circus tent. I tried to lay down and nap while they cooked their greasy, nasty, fleshy, hot dogs over the fire. I can't stand those things when my stomach is not flip-flopping. I didn't rest for very long when it hit me! Let's just say that the PB&J didn't stay. The stomach bug is especially not fun when you are not anywhere close to a real bathroom. But I was going to try to stick it out. Vince and TJ left for work and Becca and I stayed with the kids and dogs. Poor Becca. I was not very good company. I gave up being a sport and just went to bed at the first hint of twilight. I finally got all the kids ready and into the beds and had just laid down my head when Sam started puking too. I gave up then and there. I told Becca I was sorry, but I was going home. There was no way that I was going to make it through that night trying to take care of a sick kid in a circus tent with no bathroom while trying not to barf myself. I loaded up all living things and drove all the way home at about 10:00. I felt horrible leaving her there alone, but as soon as I had cell service, I called the guys and told them what was happening. I got home around 11:30 and unloaded the sleeping kids and barking dogs only to realize that I was locked out of my house! We are having issues with doors not working properly around here. After cursing my luck, crying for a few minutes and then calling my husband to cuss at him, I jimmied a lock with a giant screw driver. At that point I didn't give a hoot if I had to rip the door from it's dang hinges, I WAS getting in that house! I would deal with the consequences later. Vince and TJ finished up what they were in the middle of and drove out to camp. TJ and Becca stayed, but Vince packed up our stuff and came home. He got in around 3 AM. I'm glad we came home though. Sam and I were so sick. Then, Audrey got it the next day and then Vince and Katie got it Sunday. I have heard that it's going around. Lots of people have had this little bug. I never would have made it out alive if we'd stayed out there trying to camp. So, that makes twice we've had to cancel our little excursion. Third time's a charm, right? Maybe we'll try again. Maybe TJ and Becca will laugh in our faces!

Here's a popular topic on this blog--cleaning my house. I should be doing just that since we will have company during the rally and my sink is full of dishes and the laundry chair is full of clean, unfolded laundry just begging to be put away. I started to do the dishes earlier, but when I opened the dishwasher, I noticed that there is water sitting in the bottom that refuses to drain. Fabulous! I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have none at all.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

You should see this

I just got through watching a show called "16 and Pregnant" on MTV. I wanted to post a link to the episode that I just saw because it really touched my heart. This particular young couple, both of whom have had a rough childhood, got pregnant and made the decision to give their baby up for adoption because they knew that they couldn't provide her with the kind of life that she deserves. Boy, did I cry! I was amazed at their maturity and strength and thought I should share their story. Their parents were actually angry with them for making the decision not to keep the baby and these kids still did the right thing. Even if you don't want to watch the whole episode, at least read the letter that this young man wrote to his daughter to explain why he and his girlfriend made this difficult decision. Amazing that he is a teenager!

I have added them and the adoptive parents to my prayer list and hope you will too. Here's the link to the video:


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nothing new

We came back from Ft. Collins with (drum roll, please)....NOTHING! We found a car that we wanted. Actually, we found many cars that we wanted! But nothing panned out for us. We are thinking that we should just keep driving this one for a while. We just can't justify being so upside-down on this car. Nothing we found was worth the money we would lose on this one, so I guess we'll just drive this one until it dies. Hopefully that will be after we pay it off! With my luck...let's just say I'm not going to hold my breath.
I took Sam to the doctor today to try to get to the bottom of this horrible cycle of sickness. He seems fine for a day or two and then starts all over again. When we were in Ft. Collins, he started running a very high fever and I just could not keep it down. For almost 2 days he was like that. Today, the fever is gone, but now he has diarrhea again. We got little sleep while we were gone. Partly because Sam was sick and partly because he was in a different place and didn't sleep well. I called the doc's office this morning to ask them some questions about what else I could do to prevent him from continuing to get sick and the nurse told me to bring him in so that they could run some tests. I took one of his nasty diapers along and they are testing it. The doctor said that maybe there is a bacteria or parasite that is making him sick all the time, and not a virus like he's thought all along. I'm really at my wit's end here. I'm so tired and have been so groggy and not feeling well. I have had a headache for days now, and I'm sure it's simply because I'm exhausted. When all 3 of them are sick at the same time like they were last week, I just want to crawl in a hole and disappear. It's soooo tiring! I don't know how anyone handles having sick kids or kids with special needs. I would literally lose my bloody mind.

Sam is becoming such a character! He's really getting more and more personality all the time. He even makes fun of me already! I had the hiccups the other day and Sam thought that was hilarious. He kept making a really loud hiccup noise and then laughing his head off. Great! I thought I had a couple more years before this one started to make fun of me too.

I have a funny story about Vince to tell you all. Since the kids have been sick I threw away their toothbrushes and needed to get some new ones for them. Then we went to Ft. Collins and I never got them one. Don't tell our dentist! When we got home last night, V needed to run to the store to get some milk so I asked him to also pick up some kids' toothbrushes. I didn't think anything else about it until we were getting ready for bed and I saw these giant dollar-store toothbrushes sitting on the counter. I asked V what the heck was going on. He said well, the kid's brushes were $5 and he wasn't going to spend that kind of money, so he got those instead. They were only .99. Let me tell you--these things are hilarious. Now, I agree that $5 seems a little high for a tiny toothbrush, and I don't really care what kind of brush they get, but these silly things wouldn't fit in V's mouth, much less the kids' mouths. I will post a picture of them. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pop!

I also have some news about the "incident". I talked to animal control and they said that the dog has checked out fine and that they had several other neighbors call them in regards to that dog and her owners. I know of the one because she told me, but I have no idea who else called or what was said. They have put up part of the fence and it's really nice to have that privacy. I think the dogs are barking way less. Of course, our pups have only been home since last night, but I think since the dogs can't see each other through the fence and bark face to face, they don't even bother one another. The animal control officer did say that the neighbor was disappointed that they were going to have to put up that fence because then we wouldn't be able to talk. HA! Like she ever talked to me before! Anyhow, here are a few pictures I took of Audrey's bite 9 days after it happened. Did the dog brush her shoulder or bite her? You be the judge.

I really should get off of this computer and get to the store so I can buy my kids some proper toothbrushes! Talk at ya later!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Well, it's not bad enough that I repeat myself in person. Now I am repeating myself in blog form as well. Sorry. My life these days seems like that movie "Groundhog Day". I wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of a child crying, go see what's up, find someone covered in vomit or poo, clean them up, put them back to bed, wash myself up, crawl back into bed, and just when I have fallen back to sleep, start all over. Put that on a continuous loop and you have my life at this moment. Just switch from one kid to another every few days. Last night it was Sam-again. From 2-5 a.m. every 30 minutes he was up barfing. Then, it was poo after that. Now, Katie is running a fever. I don't know what kind of freakish superbug they are breeding up here in South Dakota, but we are apparently not very immune to it. I cannot remember a time when the kids have been so sick. I'm really tired of it though. Enough already. I don't know anyone else that has been so sick either. All of our other friends got the occasional illness this winter, but seem to be over everything now. Not us. I think some of you forgot to knock on wood after my last posting, didn't you? I blame you! Way to go.

Vince and I were supposed to take the kids camping tonight with some friends, but I'm pretty sure that's out the window. No one wants to camp with barfy-barfeson. Unless you are a college student at a party camp. But that's a story for another time. V was pretty disappointed. He was going to make it a working camp out. On top of his disappointment, add very little sleep, sick kids, and a tired, cranky wife and you have a recipe for diaster, folks. Boy, were we at each other's throats this morning! Then I had to round up all 3 stupid dogs for their annual checkups. That's lots of fun. Try 3 crazy beagles, 3 kids (2 of whom I think I mentioned are not feeling well) and one tiny vet's office. One of our dogs, Buddy, REALLY hates going to the vet. He tries to bite everyone except me. Last year, I had to administer some of his medicine because he wouldn't let anyone else near him. Now, we put a muzzle on him first thing and take care of him first so that he can go back into the car with a treat and try to settle down. The vet did mention last time that maybe we should try some doggy valium before he comes, but that costs more money on top of the $300+ bill. I bet the classified ads are cheaper. Then the vet asked if I brought in stool samples for them. Yeah, sure lady! I have nothing else to do than to follow them each around with a plastic bag on my hand trying to catch them pooping. I'm soooo done with these dogs. We have decided to kennel them when we go to Denver. It's just gonna be easier on us (and probably them too) that way. It's not cheap and Daddy is not pleased, but that's the way it's gonna be.

So, I need to get some more laundry going before I have absolutely no towels clean. We've been really hard on the laundry lately. My neighbor commented on the amount of laundry that she sees me hanging on the line outside. And that's just the stuff I hang up. And I still have piles of clothes everywhere!

And did I mention that our quest for a Honda Pilot is going to lead us down to Ft. Collins? LOL!